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X

Shame we and the French can’t rustle up 3 more carriers and the escorts and auxiliaries to have two active carrier groups this side of the Pond.

Deep32

Unfortunately that’s a leap/stretch too far for both our navies. I think that most would settle for beefing up numbers of the latter two tbh.

X

As I said a shame.

Meirion X

The French have Only 1 carrier, the Charles De Gaulle, which would Not be available 365 days a year.

France can only afford 1 CVN!

Last edited 4 months ago by Meirion X
Paul.P

Where there’s a will there’s a way. France could afford to build 2 replacements for CDG if there was the political will. A willingness to drop the requirement for nuclear propulsion would help. IEP propulsion is proven now and EMALS technology is maturing. I think I’m right in saying that the emals spec issued by the MOD presumably for addition to QE and POW to launch UAVs is powerful enough to launch a Rafale …..

X

I think launching Rafale might be a stretch from a QE. But the next generation French carrier having a F35b safe deck not so much of a reach

Meirion X

Because France is in the Euro, it can Not print more money to expand its defence budget, and has keep within spending limits set by the EU Eurozone council and Eurobank(ECB). COVID funding was even raised though the Eurozone block for all in the EZ.

Last edited 4 months ago by Meirion X
Meirion X

I mean all countries in the Eurozone are financially controlled by the European Central Bank.

Sonik

France has a world leading nuclear industry so I’m not surprised they want to sustain their capabilities, even if it’s more expensive.

UK has Rolls Royce

Last edited 4 months ago by Ben Robins
X

Nuclear has a lot of benefits for a carrier. I would hate to think how many tankers the USN would need to maintain carriers forward if they were conventional.

Sonik

I agree, different strokes and all that…

X

Again the difference is operational tempo. The USN keeps carrier groups deployed. We and the French trot ours out for ‘cruises’. In theory if the balloon goes up having two we should have one available. The French with one could be unlucky. But I can’t see any national emergence where we would need a carrier for a purely national reason. The French with their large EEZ perhaps. But they are unlikely to be facing peer opposition and have their slow helicopter carriers.

Meirion X

The USN has the luxury of being able to use its carrier fleet, as offen as the RN uses its T23 frigate fleet for operational taskings. A similar number as well!

Sonik

That’s true, but even USN is now struggling somewhat to sustain their massive and very expensive CVN commitments. Hence their enthusiasm and support for the UK CSG.

Meirion X

I agree! Some of the USN’s carriers are also having refits and refueling of their nuclear reactors.

Sonik

Good points, each nation just has different abilities and priorities, and the choice of nuclear or conventional CV makes sense for each respectively.

Supportive Bloke

Maybe.

The days deployed as opposed to in harbour for the US CVN’s tell a bit of a different story. The USN was always pretty surprised that we could sustain one Invincibles at sea at any one time and very often one ready to deploy.

Part of the problem with nuclear is that whilst it does allow for long unrefuelled cruised – apart from AVCAT – the harbour maintenance periods tend to be a lot, lot longer.

Whilst I don’t think that burning fossil fuel is the answer, I drive an electric car, I do think the correct decision was made wrt QEC propulsion. Given that they are a) huge b) electric drive and future upgrade to other generating technologies is always possible.

BigH1979

But Nuclear Powered Carriers is a Strategy isnt it? USN maintains 10/11 CVN’s so they can have 3 permanently deployed ready to react no matter what. Realistically with 2 Fossil Fueled units the most we can aspire to is having 1 CSG ready to go with maybe 5 days notice. If we are very lucky they will already be at sea with support units in place and in the same hemisphere as the situation. They are great carriers for us but the system is not in the same league as the USN.

DaveyB

At some point, if we actually do run out of oil and they put an freeze on heavy oil production, nuclear may be the only answer t power large ships. I can’t see battery technology developing enough to power a 8500t destroyer yet alone a 70kt carrier.

Supportive Bloke

I don’t see battery technology being the answer either.

Navalised SMR’s may well be the way to go.

The issue is not really running out of oil: it is running out of the political will to burn it.

That being said the amount of CO2 that is released by naval activity is tiny compared to even the shipping fleets. There is zero point in hamstringing naval assets until the muck pumped out by container ships is addressed.

PaulM

See mine above. Development work is taking place on nuclear. There is also the IMO2020 Sulphur Cap, which has reduced emissions from container vessels enormously. The drive is ever downwards on emissions, as it should be. The cheaper and greener nuclear options being developed will be a game changer for both commercial and grey vessels.

PaulM

This technology is being developed for commercial vessel use. Looks promising as a way forward for clean nuclear powered ships. Application for grey ships looks more than possible. https://corepower.energy/

Cam

The yanks are a superpower so I’m nit surprised.

Aaron

I know there will be nay sayers who are never happy or satisfied, but personally I am immensely proud to see such an active and competent Royal Navy flying the flag meeting commitments in so many places. We endured a dark chapter without carriers that loomed as a heavy embarrassment over Britain, which now feels great to be on the other side. Onwards and upwards.

Jack65

Fully agree! But we still need to get our assets kitted out with a decent anti-ship missile, preferably one that can also be integrated onto the F35B like JSM (version of NSM which Japan, Norway and Australia are already buying for F35) which i understand can be carried internally, or LRASM which can only be carried externally.

Last edited 4 months ago by Jack65
Lionel

Agree, but I don’t think F35B can carry JSM internally due to the smaller bay, but it’s still worth thinking about as a successor to Sea Eagle. JSM also fits in VLS and is a bit cheaper than LRASM. I think NSM is in the running for SSGW-I too.

CIZUK

LRASM is Mk 41 compatible, maybe with an additional booster.

Jack65

Has already been successfully test fired from Mk 41 vls and cannister.

Jack65

LRASM is the better of the two, but a little more expensive. We really need to get on and order a new missile bearing in mind we won’t get it right away…….and due to funding I woukd say NSM/JSM has to be the favourite. The USMC is looking to buy a shore launched version, not sure if they are looking at putting it on F35B? If they did it would be the ideal solution for RN & USMC.

Last edited 4 months ago by Jack65
Lionel

Yes, NSM feels like the logical favourite, given some of the SSGW-I requirements effectively rule out updated Harpoons. Having some kind of land attack capability from the surface fleet, albeit shorter ranged than Tomahawks, is also attractive. Plus, NSM is already tried and tested for canister mounting with Norwegian and US Navies, which will be required for the Type 23s. There’d likely be some economies in operating JSM too since they’re so similar, if that route was pursued. LRASM is definitely impressive though, all the more since the US are working on P-8 integration too, which could be interesting for the RAF, if a little costly.

Robert Blay

Anti ship missiles are not a priority. If we need to, we sink big ships with SSN’s and small ones with helicopters with Sea Venom & Martletls. Past conflicts have proven this conceptto be a sound option. Anti ship missiles on escorts are back up. If the RN really thought that having the very best Anti ship missile was absolutely top priority, we would have them.

Eufster

Wouldn’t hurt to at least leave the harpoon launchers on deck even if empty, would act as a deterrent as enemies likely wouldn’t know they were empty.

Deep32

We will be getting 5 sets of 8 canister launched AShM when I-SSGW is introduced in 2023 to be fitted to T23s.
HMS Glasgow will be commencing Sea trials from late 24, early 25 and is due to be commissioned into the fleet by 2027, something will be going into the Mk41 tubes. We should be hearing what that is in the next year or so. No real need for empty launchers, but I do get your point.

Sonik

The concept is sound but the current issue for RN is the diminished SSN fleet. The boats are excellent but there aren’t many of them, and little chance of changing that any time soon. Hence perhaps renewed interest in AShM.

Supportive Bloke

That is, I suspect, the intended message from HMG that we have a real deployable navy of some scale and depth.

Nobody else, other than USN, can deploy at the intensity and complexity we currently are.

As well as a decent number of ships in built to upgrade things to a very much higher level and operating tempo.

Sonik

I agree, it sends a strong message.

I would add that RN may be a smaller fleet but IMO it’s actually ahead of USN, in terms of reform and modernization. Things like lean manning, automation, autonomous systems and forward basing. All pragmatic, lower lifecycle cost solutions, to improve bang for buck.

Yes the USN have all the toys, but compare e.g. introduction of QE to GRF, or T26 & T31 to LCS fiasco. I sometimes find all these ‘but USN have XYZ’ type comments quite amusing. There is a lot USN could learn, from RN experience.

Last edited 4 months ago by Ben Robins
Supportive Bloke

Nail – head – hit

Sometimes having less resources forces you to use them more wisely.

Sonik

Yes, that was exactly my point!

And in the longer term, it can’t hurt exports for UK developed solutions either; everyone is looking to save money these days – even the USN. But the RN has gotten rather good at it, because they have to.

People forget that efficiency wins wars.

Last edited 4 months ago by Ben Robins
donald_of_tokyo

Really great achievements. Impressive, it is.

What is more important is to continue this activity. Before buying new things (such as T32 or else), keeping the operation budget as high as this year is very very important. Up keeping the current assets, such as F35B update, Merlin update, T45 re-engine, T45 ABM addition, I-SSGW, all these “providing what the front line assets need” is the highest priority than buying anything shiny or just increasing the escort by number on paper. For example, iIncreasing the sea going days of escorts with full capability is the most important.

Meirion X

“..Increasing the sea going days of escorts with full capability…”

This will depend on getting existing escorts though refits quicker, and replacement with T31 and T26 on time.
And expanding crew numbers.

Sonik

Agreed – it all goes hand in hand IMO.

More reliable ships, both new and refitted, can spend more time at sea. Better ships are more habitable, easier to work on. More time at sea, on task and visiting interesting places, it all helps with R&R.

Last edited 4 months ago by Ben Robins
Peter

The UK needs to ensure the carriers have enough F35Bs to be effective and also that the destroyer and frigate fleet are weaponed in line with potential adversaries’ ships. A recent article on here highlighted how RN vessels are under-armed by international standards. As Rear-Admiral Vaujour told the Commons Defence Committee recently, adding weapons systems increases the options that a navy can offer the politicians in a crisis.

Sonik

I agree totally with your points. But given that budget is not unlimited (for any navy!), IMO it’s still better to have a few more ships, a bit lesser armed.

Ships that exist can be upgraded; it doesn’t work the other way round. Fewer, more heavily armed ships can’t be in as many places at once. And from a task group perspective, it’s better to have a larger number of lower value targets than putting all your eggs in a few HVT baskets.

Yes there are obvious gaps and delays, but if you look at the RN fleet plan as a whole there’s a clear vision now apparent, and it’s arguably heading towards being the most balanced fleet in Europe.

Last edited 4 months ago by Ben Robins
X

More balanced than the Italians?

Sonik

Good point – that’s the only one to compare, but they don’t have (very expensive) CASD or SSN so not really a fair comparison. Still the Italians seem to be doing a pretty good job.

X

They will have 3 LPD’s, two sensibly sized aviation ships, 14 escorts all capable of AAW (2 new ones on the way to replace 2 of the 14), and 16 5000 tonne light frigates coming on stream (all 30 knot capable and with ASW). They might not have SSN’s but they do have 8 SSK’s suited to the Med; four of those will be replaced. You can’t really factor in CASD. They will be better off in 15 years time than we will be.
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Sonik

I think this goes back to our conversation above about CVs – IMO it’s a question of defensive needs and priorities, for each nation, based on geography and ambition.

Italy has a number of relatively small but volatile potential flashpoints, right on their doorstep, so they have structured their forces accordingly, and seem to be doing a good job of that.

UK doesn’t really have this issue; the principal local annoyance is Russian submarines, hence RN focus on ASW, SSN and CASD. This is more about deterrence, and keeping things in check, Vs the Italians who have the very real possibility of imminent escalation right in their backyard.

UK also has rather more globalised interests and ambition, hence the focus on expeditionary capability like CSG, Logistics and Amphibious.

So IMO the structure of RN and MM makes sense for each nation’s respective interests, both meet their own individual defensive needs.

Last edited 4 months ago by Ben Robins
X

If we had maintained 12 SSN’s, purchased 2/3 LHD (similar to USS Makin Island), had bought a class of 10k tonne-ish cruiser to replace T23/22 and T42, and perhaps a clutch of small ASW ships for the waters to our north perhaps……. Our current / soon to be force isn’t balanced for a variety of reasons. We shall see. In a serious bunfight say with PLAN the RN would be part of a larger USN group. Good assets but too nuanced.

Sonik

I do agree the SSN numbers are a weak point, and a very important one. But there is not a great deal that can be done about it.

Regards overall balance there are lots of ways to look at it but I think it’s fair to say RN are doing a reasonable job of making the best of what’s possible, what we see now and planned is certainly a big improvement over the dire situation a few years ago.

X

We are where we are. 🙂

I am just glad that if the balloon does go up the RN will be inside USN defences.

Duker

I looked up the numbers for Defence compared to NHS: in the late 70s it was around 4.5% compared to 4.9% of GDP
Recently Defence was 2% ( with some financial maneuvers) while NHS is almost 11%. Post Cold War and in spite of the China stuff which isnt the same tensions, Defence isnt going back to 4-5%
Same goes for Russia, who is still the 2nd biggest oil supplier to US behind Canada , and who also is increasing gas supplier to UK.

Last edited 4 months ago by Duker
X

The one common thing amongst all of us here is that we just don’t understand what an “%”%!”!$%^$&% up they make of defence. Vested interests, tribes, and a less than loyal political class….

Jonathan

Life expectancy has gone from around 70 year in 1970 to around 83 Year now. Simple fact of healthcare inflation almost all of the money spent on your health and social care will be in that last decade of life.

I suppose we could go back to 5% of GDP for healthcare but that means the U.K. public being happy with losing an average 10 years of life.

Dying 10 years early, is that OK with you ( So we would be stopping things like primary angioplasty, cardia surgery if you have an MI or treating strokes, stopping all the expensive new cancer treatments, stopping advanced diagnostics and trauma centres ect).

I’m sure we could have a 5% health system, but it would be effectively a third world system ( we spend less on health than almost every other western peer as it is).

Meirion X

I agree again with you Sonik! Yes the old Cold War annoyance of Russian subs snooping around in near UK waters, and also more frequently long range bombers and ASW aircraft.

It maybe a case for the RAF to station some Typhoons in the Shetlands?

The RN may need to procure more ASW vessels, because at least 2 T26s will be needed for CSG, so adapt T31s for ASW taskings in near home waters with TAS.
HMS Iron Duke, still in LIFEX, should be given TAS.

Last edited 4 months ago by Meirion X
Northern Sole

It was my understanding that the Multi Role Ocean Surveillance Ship announced in the Defence Review will take up TAS duties, spending considerably more time at sea than a T26 would

X

Both the USN and JMSDF operate ‘ocean surveillance’ ships. Two to the north would be useful. But then we are back to the low number of P8’s we are to purchase.

Meirion X

8 T23 frigates have already got Sonar
2087 towed-array sonar. The best sonar in the world.

I have not seen much detail of the proposed Multi Role Ocean Surveillance Ship(MROSS). Just advanced sensors on MROSS.
The vessel might carry a advanced successor sonar to 2087.

Last edited 4 months ago by Meirion X
X

A JMSDF Hibiki class ocean surveillance ship. Built to listen for Kilo class SSK’s.
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David

That is a very interesting link. Co-crewed by the US, of note is the operating cost – A T45 comes in at over £126K / day, so will a T26 come in around the same price? MROSS might generate some savings.

Meirion X

But One MROSS, cannot be everywhere!
Modern vessels may have a lot more capability, then their predecessors, but can only be in one place at a time.

The T26 frigate will have a smaller crew of about 150, than a T45 of about 250.
So running cost will be a lot less.

Last edited 4 months ago by Meirion X
Deep32

Is that not an update of the cold war US Surtass ship that used to play their trade out in the oceans?

X

Similar. It’s like a giant floating SOSUS. SWATH means it can sit at sea comfortably in all weathers. We could have them RFA manned and beam stuff back to Northwood for processing………
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Meirion X

Maybe one SWATH could be stationed to the west of Ireland.
With radar as well!

Last edited 4 months ago by Meirion X
X

We could plug the gaps certainly. The SSBN’s rely on their stealth as their primary defence. But we could do mote to track Russian (and perhaps Chinese) submarines than we do now.

As for radar. A simple air search radar perhaps why not? I have a passing interest in over the horizon systems like the French NOSTRADAMUS and the Australian Jindalee Operational Radar Network. Sensors are force multipliers. It would aid greatly in watching things from the north without tying up and wearing down aeroplanes.

Deep32

Got to admit that I thought these T-Agos units had all been retired, part of the so called peace dividend!!! Clearly wrong on that score, it’s interesting to note that all 5 are based in Japan, although that shouldn’t really be such a surprise, as the US shifted focus from the NA to the PO some years ago.
I see that the US are requesting funds to build a new class over the next few years, good to see all getting back into the aSW game, something that we should never have let lapse so badly.

X

Russian and Chinese submarines (and those of others) are only going to get better and more numerous. The best weapon against a submarine is another submarine. SSN(R) is decades off; we in the West are facing a growing submarine gap. To plug the gap we may need to look at other systems like ‘ocean surveillance’. As good as T26 and FREMM (all varieties of both) we may even need another class below them. One of the reasons why I moan a bit about T45’s extremely poor, practically non-existent ASW capability we can’t afford gaps.

Last edited 4 months ago by X
Meirion X

I also think there is an airspace blind spot to the west of Ireland that needs to be covered as well.

Last edited 4 months ago by Meirion X
Duker

Those arent UK ‘waters or airspace’. The ADZ that nations claim extend far beyond their own territorial waters or airspace, its just an area they monitor. Freedom of navigation means the oceans are free to use for commercial or naval ships and in a general sense that applies to airspace.
The Typhoons can easily monitor UK ADZ far out and past the Shetlands from the UK mainland airbases , and maybe some tanker support – which they have to train with anyway.
Interesting artifact of History ,the Faroes , Iceland and Greenland were once Norwegian possessions until 1814, when they split from the Danish crown ( to be under the Swedish crown) meant they lost them.
The Shetlands were Norwegian too till they were pledged as security for a dowry, never paid, when Margaret of Norway became the wife of James III of Scotland in 1469.

John Dawkins

Why are UK journalists not allowed to cover this deployment. I find that amazing as this does not do justice to Boris’ global Britain agenda.

Last edited 4 months ago by John Dawkins
Jack65

There is a film crew on board QE, but evidently someone forgot to hire a photographer for every day publicity snaps.

Duker

Iphone ?

X

Why would they hire photographers when the Royal Navy has its own specialists?

Phillip Johnson

The first video is interesting, The 2 carriers are proceeding at the same speed but the bow wave from QE is producing much more disturbed water much further from the ship. Underwater noise?

CIZUK

It’s a 65% bigger ship, that might have something to do with it. Or it could just be the angle of the light, reflecting off the QE’s wake but not the CdG’s.

Last edited 4 months ago by CIZUK
Paul.P

Well QE is a larger ship. But if you look carefully the turbulence from CdG is there just masked by the perspective of the camera angle.

X

QE has a bulbous bow and CdeG has a straight bow.

Robert Blay

This is a truly impressive management of vessels and manning to maintain such a high tempo of operations, especially against the backdrop of a ongoing global pandemic. We have a world class Navy, that we should be very proud of. 🇬🇧

Gareth

Thanks for the interesting article and great images.

Airborne

Well done the RN. We all know that all 3 services are missing some capabilities and we have limited depth in platform numbers, BUT, you’ve got to hand it to the RN and the head sheds. Good planning, skilled crews and a willingness to crack on. Some new kit, new CONOPS and a very well thought out and conducted recruitment drive over the last 36 months has shown to be paying off. The Army could learn a lot form the RN that’s for sure. We are a maritime nation and even I believe that the RN should be priority, closely followed by the RAF then the Army, for funding. The Army’s problems are certainly of its own making and while it does need to be sorted out, it will be painful and very slow. Anyway well done the RN.

borg

Lovely bunch of Pics, I have to say and such great Info.

herodotus

Borg, I’m guessing you are the same Borg who post’s on the UKDJ ?

Mike McNamara

Great article and images as always – added to my newsletter at https://www.scoop.it/topic/royal-navy

James

Before chests start swelling with patriotic pride and you start strutting down the street waving copies of Das Daily Mail or Das Sun it must be said again britains fleet of F35Bs is only 8 aircraft. The only reason for the US Marines being brought onboard is to make up the numbers so Chinese sailers dont fall off their ships laughing at near empty flight decks.
Of concern should be the possible slip into extremist rule in the US. The orange idiot is still about. If that happens what about spares or access to computer code?
Britain should have teamed up with SAAB and built Sea Gripens. Could have had 150 of them with state of art Electronic Warfare (EW) defense which does not require stealth coating. The offsets could have been fun. All the meatballs you can eat and hybrid Volvos ,plus swedish Nurces for the NHS.

Meirion X

The orange idiot you refer to, is highly unlikely to return to office. He is more likely to go to Jail! Access to code and spares, was agreed to some years ago.
The UK will eventually get more F-35B’s in the next few years, with new upgrades built in.